What does a state where abortion is criminalized look like?

It looks like 1,200 women deep investigations where women are interrogated for their personal choices dealing with their own bodies. A family planning center is under investigation in Brazil and subsequently so are potentially 1,200 women that have had abortions. Approximately 150 women are being charged along with 30 partners or medical professionals.

The authorities only became aware of the clinic following a television interview, which led to a police investigation that could eventually involve more than 1,200 women and some of their partners, as well as medical staff.
To gather evidence, Judge Aluizio Pereira dos Santos is said to have interviewed husbands, ex-boyfriends and relatives of some of the women accused of having abortions.

Oh, it gets even worse.

Human rights and women’s organisations have complained that the process has been humiliating for those involved, and has included demands for intimate medical examinations.
At least 30 women have already been sentenced to community work in creches or schools for disabled children.

Perhaps not shocking as we have known the pope’s position on abortion for a long time, but upsetting still. Also check out this interesting take from RH Reality Check comparing the treatment of women that have received abortions in Brazil and in Kansas.

Join the Conversation

  • Cecilieaux

    Once again, what’s with the demonization of Third World countries? Samhita borrows lazily from another blog to add Feministing’s latest thoughtless Third World put down.
    The original post made a point of naming the Brazilian state of Matto Grosso do Sul and of noting its similarities with — gasp! — Kansas!
    So it turns out that those those backward, awful Brazilians are just like Kansans — not that Samhita could be bothered to notice.

  • Robbert

    Another state where abortion is illegal is Ireland.
    Yearly many women make the trip with the ferry to the UK to get an abortion and then go back.
    in 2001 Women on waves were in the news because they had a shipborne abortion clinic just outside national waters. At the time an estimated 6.500 women a year made their way to Britain to get an adoption. Women on waves is still active.
    Other actions were:
    Poland (2003)
    Argentine (2004)
    Portugal (2004)
    Malta (2007)
    Equador (June 2008)
    Spain (October 2008)

  • Robbert

    Brasil is usually not considered a third world country.

  • Cecilieaux

    OK, while we’re at it, in the sense Samhita used it, “state” did not refer to “nation-state,” as in Ireland and other countries you mentioned.
    As to the use of Third World, see

  • spike the cat

    Actually I think Brasil is a great comparison as they also struggle with some of the same post-colonial religious conservatism that we struggle with in the USA. Brasil and the USA actually have a lot more in common history wise and demographic wise also.
    It’s ironic that the religious conservatism surrounding reproductive health seems to be above and beyond what is practiced in the current cultures of the original European colonizers—for example, Portugal passed a law allowing abortion in 2007.
    And I would also have to disagree with the characterization of Brasil as 3rd world. It’s an economic powerhouse, up and coming, in league with other emerging markets.

  • lgrf4evr

    I am not sure if you read the blog. She was implying that the extremist agenda on women reproductive organs is the same kind of agenda that socialist conservative are trying to pass in kanses.
    Your decision to accuse her of racism and elitist show that you:
    1. are projecting your own elitist and racist agenda onto her
    2. fail to understand her argument about the comparison between kaneses and brazil
    3. had not read the blog at all

  • rrobyn

    Ew, “intimate medical examinations”? How can you even tell?! And I thought i read somewhere that Brazil was considering legalizing abortion? Hmmn, I must look that up again…

  • Erin Kay

    If you’re interested in what happens when a state outlaws abortion (and contraceptives are largely unavailable), check out Gail Kligman’s book The Politics of Duplicity. Here’s a link to it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Politics-Duplicity-Controlling-Reproduction-Ceausescus/dp/0520210751
    It’s about Ceausescu’s pronatalist policies in communist Romania, which became increasingly repressive and invasive throughout the 1970s and 80s. Kligman’s book examines the impact that those policies had on women’s lives and on the society as a whole.

  • rustyspoons

    I don’t see this as a demonization of a Third World country (whether Brazil is one or not). I see it as a demonization of a country making anti-choice legislation and harrassing women for their personal choices, and yeah, they SHOULD be called out on that.